Ericksen, Miller Earn Weekly Valley Football Honors
Sept. 9, 2012
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Illinois State football team picked up its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in over 20 years Saturday, when it defeated Eastern Michigan on the road. For their efforts in that big victory, Redbird safety Ben Ericksen and running back Jonathon Miller were named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week, respectively, by the league office Sunday.
The weekly conference honors are the first for both players in their careers at ISU and the first two of the season for the Redbirds.
Ericksen led the way for ISU in a dominating defensive effort in the 31-14 victory over the Eagles to earn MVFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. The senior from Greendale, Wis., native recorded the first two interceptions of his career, added four tackles and broke up a pass that resulted in a third interception in the victory for the Redbirds.
His interception in the second quarter helped preserve a 10-7 lead at the time and his pick in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for ISU. He was also credited with a pass breakup in the fourth quarter, which he deflected to Mike Zimmer who returned it to the EMU 30 yard line. That play would eventually turn into a Darrelynn Dunn four-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive to put the game away.
Overall, the Redbird defense accounted for five turnovers on the day and held Eastern Michigan scoreless for the final two quarters of play. The Redbirds held the Eagles to just three first downs, 22 yards passing and 54 yards rushing in a strong defensive effort in the second half.
Miller made an immediate impact in his first game for the Redbirds and was tabbed as the MVFC Newcomer of the Week for his efforts. The Oklahoma transfer, who missed most of the preseason and ISU's first game due to a shoulder injury, scored a 58-yard touchdown on his second carry of the game and finished the day with 81 yards on nine carries in the victory.
The Garland, Texas, native's first carry went for eight yards and picked up a first down for ISU and his second carry came on the next play, when he broke open for a 58-yard touchdown run to put the Redbirds up 7-0 early in the first quarter. Miller finished the day averaging 9.0 yards per carry, as the Redbirds amassed 216 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns on the ground against the Eagles.
The nationally-ranked Redbirds will return home Saturday, Sept. 15, to host longtime in-state rival Eastern Illinois in the Mid-America Classic. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Hancock Stadium.
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